GrapHNR 2023

Graphs and Networks in the fourth dimension –
time and temporality as categories of connectedness

Joint conference of the HNR community
and Graphs & Networks in the Humanities

18.–21.07.2023, Mainz

GrapHNR 2023, a joint conference of the Historical Network Research community and Graphs & Networks in the Humanities will be hosted at the Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz and the Leibniz Institute of European History (IEG), Mainz, from Tuesday July 18 until Friday 21 July, 2023 (For more information, see the conference website).

Since 2013, the HNR conference series has explored the challenges and possibilities of network research in historical scholarship. It has served as a platform for researchers from various disciplines to meet, present and discuss their latest research findings and to demonstrate tools and projects. Beyond the conference series, the Historical Network Research community also publishes the Open Access Journal of Historical Network Research, devoted to the study of networks (social or otherwise) from a specifically historical perspective and encouraging the exchange between different areas of historical research (in the broadest sense), the (digital) humanities at large as well as the social, information, and computer sciences.

Starting in 2017 as the German-language “Graphentechnologien” conference, “Graphs & Networks in the Humanities” has evolved into an international conference series providing a platform for the exchange of methodological and technical knowledge about graphs and networks and their application in the humanities. The proceedings of the 2020 conference have been published as an Open Access publication, while the proceedings of the 2022 conference are currently being prepared for publication.

Conference Theme

As graphs and networks have become an established tool within the Digital Humanities, a growing sophistication in the use of technologies and algorithms has been accompanied by theoretical reflections on their critical application as well as by an in-depth consideration of the specific challenges posed by research data and research topics of the Humanities to methods often adapted from the Social or Computer Sciences.

Yet, one particular challenge has often fallen to the wayside despite its obvious fundamental importance, especially for archaeological and historical research: Time, as an attribute of data, a category of analysis, and as a factor in our research processes themselves. Despite many studies paving the way for multifaceted approaches, the questions of how to deal with and how to manage temporal data adequately and in an interoperable way still lead to challenges all along the research data life cycle: Planning, collecting, processing, analysing, publishing, sharing, preserving, and re-using data are all processes that need to consider the temporal dimensions of the research subject and that each require specific steps to meet this challenge.

The ambition to include time as a genuine dimension of our research shapes a multitude of demands we must ask of our data structures and of our methods of analysis, for example

  • the challenge of dealing with incomplete or vague temporal data;
  • modelling events as a basic narrative scaffolding for temporal succession;
  • adapting algorithms of dynamic network analysis or temporal networks to cultural and historical data to focus on the structural evolution of network characteristics throughout a specific timeframe;
  • the complexities of culturally specific perceptions of time, like different calendar systems or only partially synchronised relative dating systems, and how theories like Ernst Bloch’s “simultaneity of the non-simultaneous” challenge us to closely examine our notions of evolutionist views of societies and to expand our models to include diverse models of temporalities in regard to social or cultural developments;
  • and last but not least, the more current conflicting temporalities inherent in the rapid evolution of technologies that require constant re-workings of our ways of dealing with data.

Therefore, the conference lays focus on dealing with graphs and networks in the fourth dimension – how to incorporate time, temporalities, and dynamics into graph technologies and network research. We invite all those active within the global humanities community who are working with graph technologies and network research to frame their paper with regard to the conference theme

 “Graphs and Networks in the fourth dimension –
time and temporality as categories of connectedness”.

Key topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Temporalities of historical subjects
    How can we conceptualise the flow of time and how can we reconcile the complexities of the historical record with the data at hand? How can we integrate changing receptions of historical objects, throughout their “lifespan” detailed by their object biography but also over the course of our projects? How can we integrate the different temporalities of relations, e.g. of interactions and the potential for interactions?
  • Temporalities of historical data
    How do we encode time and model changing states of entities, of relations, and of structures? How can we deal with different standards and different concepts of temporalities? What standards have we developed to deal with incomplete or vague dates, missing start or endpoints? What are the consequences of these modelling decisions for the possibilities of analysis? What happens when we “petrify” or “freeze” change as persistent data? And finally, how can we visualise change and the passing of time?
  • Temporalities of research in graph and network technologies
    How can we deal with changing perspectives on data and subject matter, different temporalities of technologies, update cycles, obsolescences, or “turns” within research programs? How can we critically reflect on our data as an object of data management and analysis, and its changing nature throughout the evolution of a project? How are we handling a number of different temporalities occurring in our projects and research in general – temporalities of data, infrastructure, tools, devices, hardware and software, media, research, institutions and funding?

Important dates

  • 26.02.2023: deadline for submissions via Microsoft CMT (
  • 31.03.2023: notification of acceptance/rejection
  • 01.05.2023: registration opening
  • 15.07.2023: latest possible registration for participants
  • 18.–21.07.2023: conference
  • 31.08.2023: invitation of selected articles to JHNR

Programme Committee

  • Prof. Dr. Tara Andrews (University of Vienna)
  • Dr. Elisa Cugliana (Universität zu Köln)
  • Prof. Dr. Aline Deicke (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
  • Dr. Thomas Efer (University of Leipzig)
  • Max Grüntgens (Deutsches Dokumentationszentrum für Kunstgeschichte – Bildarchiv Foto Marburg)
  • Ing. Ronald Haentjens Dekker (Huygens Institute, Amsterdam)
  • Julian Jarosch (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz)
  • Prof. Dr. Andreas Kuczera (Academy of Sciences and Literature | Mainz / Technische Hochschule Mittelhessen)
  • Dr. Cindarella Petz (Leibniz Institute of European History – IEG)
  • Florian Thiery M.Sc. (Leibniz-Zentrum für Archäologie (LEIZA))
  • Dr. Demival Vasques Filho (Leibniz Institute of European History – IEG)
  • Dr. Ingeborg van Vugt (KNAW Humanities Cluster, Amsterdam)
  • Dr. Joris van Zundert (Huygens Institute, Amsterdam)